... even if you are STUCK AT HOME.
... even if you have NO SPECIAL EQUIPMENT or prior training.
... even if you HATE WORKING OUT.
Your trainer/instructor (or horse!) tells you that your seat needs work. The "gurus" and magazine articles tell you that in order to improve your seat, you need to work out, lift weights, get stronger, s-t-r-e-t-c-h more.
Ok! So you go sign up for a gym membership that you don’t use because you’d rather go to the barn. Or you start an at-home routine but you lose momentum after day 3 because you’re sore and would prefer to go ride your horse. Or....you stretch and stretch and stretch… but it just doesn’t seem to transfer to your riding.
Most exercise methods aim to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones in the HOPE that this will transfer to the riding, but it doesn’t transfer well. They might see results OFF the horse but it never significantly improves their riding because it is incorrectly addressing symptoms rather than the cause of the tight or weak muscles. It’s like a bad game of whack-a-mole.
The fitness programs many riders end up choosing are things can actually make your riding WORSE by creating too much rigidity and tension in the body. They actually do more harm than good for your riding! This is why the legs and hips get tighter, and it actually becomes HARDER to sit the trot well and stay gracefully mobile with the horse’s movement, even as the body gets more strong and toned. It defeats the purpose.
Very few fitness programs actually address the sensory motor part of the BRAIN that is in charge of coordination and healthy, functional movement. You do not effectively access the sensory motor part of the brain when you are "fitnessing to fatigue" yet this is what most programs emphasize. In fact, slow practice under non-fatigued conditions produces more effective learning than does practice under fatigued conditions. This is why those skills do not transfer well to the riding.
To be the best rider you can be, you absolutely CAN benefit from fitness off the horse. In fact, you SHOULD do it. BUT not all fitness methods are equally beneficial for your riding!
Well, obviously, ultimately you do need to ride to improve your riding, but your opportunities to improve your riding are not that narrow, and there is quite a bit you can do “off the horse” to improve your riding.
In fact, if you don’t have time to waste and you want to be intelligent about it, the best way to rapidly improve is to increase the plasticity of your brain and increase your speed of learning. And the best way to do that is actually through….
You guessed it… Exercise! SMART exercise!
Motor learning tied to intelligent control of sensory neurons in muscles, 2016
“Sensory neurons in human muscles provide important information used for the perception and control of movement. Learning to move in a novel context also relies on the brain’s independent control of these sensors, not just of muscles, according to a new study.” Umeå universitet. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2016.
Exercise boosts motor skill learning via changes in brain's transmitters, 2020 "This study shows that it's good for the brain to add more plasticity. For people who would like to enhance their motor skill learning, it may be useful to do some exercise to promote this form of plasticity to benefit the brain. For example, if you hope to learn and enjoy challenging sports such as surfing or rock climbing when we're no longer sheltering at home, it can be good to routinely run on a treadmill or maintain a yoga practice at home now." University of California - San Diego. (2020, May 4)
Adult astrocytes are key to learning and memory, 2020 “Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine reveal that astrocytes, the most abundant cells in the brain, play a direct role in the regulation of neuronal circuits involved in learning and memory.” Baylor College of Medicine. (2020, April 23)
I am an internationally qualified ski instructor and spent my early twenties coaching both members of the public and ski instructors world wide. On my return to London I retrained as a fitness instructor. Through this I developed a passion for writing about health and fitness, subsequently worked as a health and fitness journalist for various newspapers and magazines.
During this time I personally trained a number of well-known people including public figures, actors, musicians and models. I also worked as a fitness model for various books and videos. In pursuit of improving my athletic performance, I trained in Pilates Reformer and Matwork for over 5 years and was one of the first to introduce the Pilates approach to core stability into my training programmes. I’m the author of The Supple Workout which is based on how to incorporate Pilates into fitness programmes. I also presented these concepts at conferences to fellow health and fitness professionals.
This changed my life and the course of my career. Currently I teach a wide variety of individuals and groups in my practice in London ranging from those who wish to improve their performance in their sport or their art, to people with neurological difficulties. I also have a psychotherapy practice. I have presented on how the Feldenkrais Method can support rehabilitation to physiotherapists, biomechanics experts and body workers as well as how it can improve performance to the British Association of Ski Instructors.
Quality fitness training has always been a huge part of improving my performance and staying injury-free for my sports, but when I embarked on the Feldenkrais training, my ideas about what it is to be fit and healthy RADICALLY changed.
I learned how to work out intelligently, rather than hard. And I learned that if I listened to the feedback from my body rather than pushed through pain, I could improve my performance and stay injury-free.”
The Feldenkrais method is a way (or means) of developing your awareness of how you move (and also what STOPS you from moving as well as you can, or as well as you would like to) in your daily activities and in your sports or hobbies.
I use my knowledge as a Feldenkrais teacher and blend this with my background in sport and fitness to make a flowing sequence of exercises that enhance co-ordination, agility, suppleness and effortless power.
FeldenFit is a totally new concept. It’s an amalgamation of my current work as a Feldenkrais Practitioner but also of my earlier work as a ski coach and fitness instructor.
No Equipment. You don’t need fancy gym equipment, weights, extra supplies, or any special clothes. Or even shoes!
No Sweat. This is not about huge physical exertion. It is about smart, deliberate movement to train the body and the brain.
No Stress. There are no fancy steps to keep up with, no classes to miss, no one to judge you, and nothing to get stressed over.
Week 1 is comprised of 7 core re-organisers to improve your balance and discover the power of your centre. Each core exercise helps you find more symmetry in the use of your trunk, lengthens your spine and improves the co-ordination of the pelvis, spine and chest.
Week 2 is a series of movement lessons that supple the legs, hip joints and pelvis. When your legs feel free from the constraints of previously over-worked muscles, you will feel agile and free and have a serious spring in your step!
Week 3 is 7 lessons that improve your spatial orientation. Have you ever noticed that the great athletes always know where they need to be in a nano second? They know where every part of their body is in space and are highly aware of every part of their environment. These movement sequences give you a taste of the path to excellent spatial awareness.
Week 4 is a combination of movement lessons that focus on power and flexibility of the legs. The exercises work on how strength and power of your muscles is dependent on the co-ordination of an action through your whole body not just in isolated parts of yourself. The last three days are longer (c. 15 minutes) "flow sequences" combining elements from the earlier videos.
This is a familiar exercise with a few surprising twists! The movements in this session will help you feel how good support from your feet and legs helps you differentiate the vertebrae of your spine, frees your hip joints and enables you to access the power of your pelvis for dynamic stability. In lying, you explore many possibilities of how to free your hip joints and find the dynamic power in your pelvis and spine that is so essential for moving and riding effortlessly.
Riders will also notice that when you find more length and power in the spine to hold you upright, it becomes easier to lengthen the front of the hip joints so that the legs are free for subtle cues and aids.
FeldenFit 2: The feedback for FeldenFit 1 was so overwhelmingly positive that soon we were inundated with requests for a follow-up program. Never ones to disappoint, we would like to now present the next 30 days... FeldenFit 2!
FeldenFit3: And then we produced ANOTHER follow-up programme... the third 30 days... FeldenFit 3! FeldenFit3 is the newest addition to the program. Catherine McCrum has designed the third set of 30 days of daily 7-15 minute FeldenFit lessons specifically for riders to help you access your potential in mobility and stability of your centre, openness of your chest, freedom of your hip joints, and differentiated connection of each vertebrae of your spine so that you can ride without jarring, tensing, or bracing.
We run regular 30-day Challenges within our FeldenFit Community. The next 30-Day Challenge is for FedenFit 2 and it begins on Saturday, Feburary 6, 2021. Will you be joining us?
We hope you will love this program. You will have a full 2 weeks from the date of purchase to see if it is right for you. If it doesn’t resonate with you, just let us know and we will refund your money. No hassles. No hard feelings.
"My whole seat changed. My horses back comes up, because my legs give room to do that. She breathes better because there is less tension in my thighs. For me it feels like I am sitting with more connection more inside the horse. My back problems got much better, also my knee pain is gone. I have scoliosis and the left side of my pelvis was moving differently that evened out and my shoulders and neck are not (so) tense anymore. My posture and movement changed and feels easier and I move with less effort. I grew awareness in my upper spine and how every movement is producing an echo that resonates through the whole body." - Verena Meyer, Germany re: The Aware Rider Program
"For me Feldenkrais has and is still opening new doors of knowing my body and it's movement patterns. I have always been very analytic and concious of my body but Feldenkrais has given me tools to get to know my "black spots", help change bad habits and evening out my sides. Feldenkrais + Ritter dressage learning shows many positive ways in my riding. From sessions I have learned little movements and feel which I can use in my ordinary life, like supporting good posture. The best part is how calm and rested I feel after each session, helping reduce stress." - Maija Ylämäki, Finland re: The Aware Rider Program
Feldenfit exercises are designed to extend your movement abilities and improve your co-ordination and the health of your posture. This makes it particularly suitable for riders who need to be both stable yet dynamic, powerful yet soft, clear in their intention yet able to change tack at a moment’s notice.
You can expect to improve your motor skills - co-ordination, balance and agility. You can expect to become more stable and centred without sacrificing you ability to move dynamically according to the demands of the situation. You can expect increased awareness of the sensations that let you know when you’re working at your most optimal.
You need to be physically capable to follow an exercise programme. If you’ve had surgery recently or you have a medical condition that could prohibit you from exercising, then you need consult your GP or Medical Consultant.
You can do most of these exercises. A few may be more challenging, but there are ways of modifying the movements so that they’re suitable. If you’ve had surgery recently you need to consult your Medical Consultant.
Yes. For example if you have difficult being on your knees, then I suggest that you place pads or cushions. Also many of the exercises start with an easy version and become more demanding. You are encouraged to stick to the variation that is within your limits and personal comfort
This is not a pre or post natal programme. Some of the exercises will not be suitable for pregnant women whereas others will be.
Yes. All the movements are done slowly and with attention to ease, comfort and enjoyment. You don’t have to be especially flexible or strong to start the programme though it’s especially important in Feldenfit exercises to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits.
Some of the exercises are simple and others are more challenging. If an exercise is too difficult for you, then you can skip it and return at a later date. It’s likely that your co-ordination and skills will improve through the programme so that all the exercises become possible eventually.
This is a series of lessons which primarily improve motor skills and co-ordination. As long as you can get down on the floor then you have the skills to start.
Yes these exercises are often done in a group. The more the merrier!
Just a floor and a rug or mat to lie on .
Loose comfortable clothing.
All the exercises are designed to be done in your own home.
On a carpet, rug or padded mat. A yoga mat is not suitable as you need to be able to slide.
Any time that suits you. You may find that first thing in the morning you feel stiffer and want to use the exercises to prepare you for your day. Likewise you may find in the evening that you would like to use the exercises to ground and centre you after a busy day’s work.
As often as it feels enjoyable to do so. Like any physical skill, practise is a vital part of improving how you move in all aspects of your life.
Although there are 30 days of exercises, it’s important that you work at the pace that is right for you so just pick up where you left off.
Yes, you will have unlimited, lifetime access.
Yes, you can do them at your own pace. These are 30 days of lessons to do at any schedule that works for you. Some may choose to do them less frequently. Others may choose to do several a day. Both are possible and both are absolutely allowed. We encourage you to find what schedule feels good to you, and works for you in your current situation.
I suggest modifications. But you can also ask in the facebook group. If an exercise is too challenging then move on to the next one. You may find that you come back to the more difficult exercises in the future and miraculously you are able to do them with ease.
There is always room for improvement! You can learn to do what you already do well with less effort and more flow so that you have energy left. These movements are inspired by the Feldenkrais Method - many artists, sportsmen and performers use Feldenkrais to improve their performance.
The movements sequences are slow and mindful. These mindful exercises are designed to work with the sensory motor part of your brain so you form new neural pathways that develop more optimal and effective movement patterns for every action in your life.
Of course!! As long as you are not pushing through discomfort or pain, you can do the exercises as often as you like.
You can repeat the sequences you find enjoyable. And you can go back to the exercises that you found more challenging. When you are ready, we would love to welcome you into our two sequel programmes, FeldenFit 2 and FeldenFit 3.
To get FeldenFit 2, click here.
To get FeldenFit 3, click here.
To get all three, click here.
Although some of the exercises may look like movements you would do in a yoga class, you are not seeking to achieve a perfect posture or a desired way of using your breath. Rather, you are exploring innovative movements that improve your movement skills to the point that inefficient movement patterns are ironed out and often pain and chronic discomfort melts away.
There is no intensive training required to get benefit Feldenfit and no repetitive movements and forms are practised.
Whilst both Feldenfit and The Aware Rider series are focused on developing awareness of how to move as you can and to free yourself of faulty, habitual patterns of movement, posture or breathing, The Aware Rider is a deep exploration of how your thinking, feeling, sensing and moving - the whole of you - influence you in your life and how you can change your self image. Feldenfit, on the other hand, focuses mainly on improving your movement skills in such a way that you become more competent in your riding and all your activities. The bonus to this is that you will have a profound sense of well-being as you are able to do more and more of things you wish with the quality you would like.